For me, it all started with the eye. I’ve come to learn that this is where it often starts for people.
After weeks with a strange eye pain and vision loss that I could not seem to put into words, I turned to professionals. At first, I was diagnosed with optic neuritis. This then led to a diagnosis of optic neuropathy. After that, I was told the cause was multiple sclerosis (MS).
It felt like my life changed all at once when I found out I have MS. The year leading up to my diagnosis already had a lot going on: I was moving into a new house in less than a month and had a ticket to Paris with my name on it. When I was diagnosed, I had to adapt and learn the ropes quickly.
Luckily, I come from a big, supportive family, so we learned together. Everyone was in the loop about all my healthcare appointments. Both my mom and my partner came with me to a lot of them. We went to an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in eyes and vision. He took some MRIs and plenty of eye exams. With some more knowledge, we made an appointment with a neurologist and his team.
At first, I was thrown a lot of information. Even so, my healthcare provider still made sure I had a thorough understanding of everything I needed to know each step of the way. What I like most about my healthcare team is how they give me all the facts. That way, I feel way more involved in the decision-making process that affects my health.
One decision I made was to be as proactive as possible about my health. I even debated changing my diet. However, being so close to my trip to Paris, I wasn’t about to give up all that delicious food. One of the things my healthcare team suggested was physical therapy. They said it could be incredibly helpful. Before my diagnosis, I used to go out for runs, but afterwards, my old routine became harder. They suggested yoga instead. I have always been interested in yoga, but I never really dove into it. I worked with the physical therapist to come up with a routine that was helpful and designed specifically for my needs. This is what worked best for me. Try talking to your healthcare team about what could work for you.
Other symptoms have popped up along the way. Finding ways to cope with the symptoms has involved a lot of trial and error, but it’s been a learning experience.
At first, it was frustrating to have to teach myself about this process. I wanted my healthcare provider to have all the answers. But as time’s gone on, I’ve learned that’s not how this condition works. Yes, you need to work with your family and your healthcare provider. But at the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you.
In the past year, I’ve done a lot of growing. The last thing I ever expected at 25 was to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It has really forced me to grow up quicker and become more responsible. I take care of myself a little bit better now, and I’m more aware of my mind and my body.